Protected area planning in Victoria, Australia, 1987-2007: An assessment of planning process and planning effectiveness

Martin, B 2010, Protected area planning in Victoria, Australia, 1987-2007: An assessment of planning process and planning effectiveness, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Protected area planning in Victoria, Australia, 1987-2007: An assessment of planning process and planning effectiveness
Author(s) Martin, B
Year 2010
Abstract The thesis examined protected area planning processes and planning effectiveness in Victoria, Australia, in the period 1987-2007. The research focussed on management plans, documents which set out the management approach and goals, together with a framework for decision making, to apply to a protected area over a given period of time. Protected areas are defined as places set aside for the long-term conservation of nature and include national parks and other types of reserve.

The research questions were:
• What are management plans for protected areas? What are they meant to do and how do they do it?
• How were protected area management plans prepared in Victoria in the period 1987 to 2007?
• How do you measure effectiveness in protected area management plans?
• How effective were management plans prepared in Victoria in the period 1987 to 2007?
• Can protected area management planning be made more effective?

The research found that there had been little academic discussion on this form of planning and that there was little agreement on how to assess planning effectiveness, so it was necessary to adapt work in related fields including systematic conservation planning, evidence-based conservation, and town and regional planning.

The research found that there was significant disagreement in the literature on the appropriate style, process and content of management plans. Most sources assumed that management plans would be the principal guiding document for management of a particular park but interviews revealed that, at the time in question, annual works programs were determined largely by other management systems.
Analysis of management plans and interviews showed that the content and format of management plans changed significantly between 1987 and 1997, the latter plans being shorter and with less resource information and having less park-specific prescriptions due to the introduction of strict editorial guidelines.

The research indicated that there was no accepted methodology to measure the effectiveness of protected area management plans. Therefore work on town and regional planning was adapted to assess plan quality--inputs, process and outputsa conformance-based approach and planning effectiveness--outcomes--a performance-based approach. This new methodology proved to be viable but lengthy and complex. It was limited by the availability and accessibility of information, and the need for specialist evaluation techniques.

Considerable resources were devoted to management plans in the period in question but case studies showed that they were inadequate in many respects and were not effective in terms of the criteria developed in this thesis. Management plans were loosing their relevance and were less useful for day-to-day management.
The overall conclusion of the thesis was that it is feasible to make protected area planning more effective through better legislation, better integration with local government and other public land planning, more dynamic planning, the use of specific and measurable objectives, providing cost estimates for proposed actions, use of evidence-based planning, development of effective audit and monitoring programs, and the reinstatement of the importance of management plans.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global Studies, Social Science and Planning
Keyword(s) protected area
national park
environment
conservation
planning
effectiveness
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Created: Thu, 25 Aug 2011, 17:23:55 EST by Guy Aron
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